Chapter 02 - Managing Diversity: Releasing Every Employee's Potential
regarding diversity. In response, the definition and expectations were incorporated into
the diversity training program and highlighted in internal corporate communications.
A team or task force is generally put in charge of the investigation, and must start off by
making a several key decisions. For example, they must decide whether to gather
information using internal staff or outside professionals (employees may feel more
comfortable talking with outsiders) and whose opinions will be solicited (when in doubt,
survey a base that’s too broad rather than too narrow).
Strengthen top-management commitment. Top management must view diversity as
a key business issue. That is, recognize that diversity is an important aspect of the
organization’s ability to successfully compete in today’s and tomorrow’s business
environment. Top managers can demonstrate their commitment by allocating sufficient
resources to diversity issues, recognizing that diversity is a long-term effort, reminding
managers to focus on diversity goals, and meeting with diverse employee groups.
Finally, top managers must realize that diversity progress rests not only upon their
efforts, but on efforts throughout the organization. This entails making diversity a
pervasive part of the organizational culture.
Choose solutions that fit your organizational strategy. A vast array of diversity
practices exist. Deciding which practices best meet the needs of your organization is
difficult and complex. For example, if the primary diversity goal is that of leadership
development, a different solution is likely necessary than if the primary goal is targeted
recruitment of nontraditional managers. Solutions must match the organization’s data
and culture. Without a careful match, potential solutions may be too general, or spread
too thin to accomplish results. The chosen solutions should incorporate all three
components of a diversity strategy: education, enforcement, and exposure. Education
is geared toward increasing the sensitivity of majority group members and also to better
prepare nontraditional managers for career advancement. Enforcement of standards
helps ensure that at least the most blatant forms of differential treatment will be quickly
addressed. Exposure involves interaction among traditional and nontraditional peer
employees within the organization. Such exposure helps some traditional managers
overcome stereotypic beliefs. Finally, when agreeing upon the appropriate solutions,
the diversity task force should consider the need to reach as many employees as
possible with each solution and provide training and preparation for each solution.
Demand results and revisit goals. Numerical goals and objective measures are
needed to encourage managers to focus on results instead of effort or intent. Of
course, the statistical measures can be supplemented with other outcome measures
such as employee attitudes and perceptions. The demands placed on managers
should be concordant with the control they have over outcomes.
Use building blocks to maintain momentum. Top management should plan beyond
the short-term impact of diversity practices. Building on progress already made can
accelerate the implementation of diversity practices. Although race and gender may be
the most commonly addressed diversity dimensions, a strong diversity program can
extend diversity and incorporate other relevant primary or secondary diversity